Posted by psgels on 24 November 2011 with categories: Un-Go

Holy crap! This show just continues to get better and better. With this episode, it once again surpassed itself. This really was everything that an episodic series should be. And heck, this is why I’m a fan of the genre: because they’re able to put in episodes like this. What a trip.

To be fair though, the reason I’m a fan of this genre mostly stems from quite a few years ago. During the past few years the genre has dulled in a bit because it lost sight of what made it really special: the way in which it allows a much more diverse outlook on its story and setting compared to if it was just a continuous storyline. I’m not sure what caused the decline, but overall a big difference of episodic series of the last years is that nearly always, the episodic stories are kept similar to each other, with little chances to branch out, like what this episode of Un-Go did.

I’m not sure exactly why this happened. Heck, back in 2003 you’d even have series that were collections of short stories that are completely unrelated to each other (Human Crossing, Sentimental Journey, Rumic Theater). That’s something that’s completely unthinkable nowadays. Probably a factor was that around 5 years ago, fillers got really notorious. With the arrival of the internet, and how the number of anime each season exploded, audiences got less patient and random episodes that were meant to just fill time pretty much died out apart from kids’ series and popular shounen series. This lead to a huge decrease in filler episodes, but also episodes that want to try a different story for a change.

The suspense in this episode was really great. It was a very interesting idea to just stuff the male lead into this position where nothing makes sense, and it’s up to him to figure out not just what’s going on (this probably is an illusion), but also why everything is happening. It was delightfully paranoid, and the pacing of this episode was completely different from the rest of the series. I also liked how the actresses were used in this episode: on one hand their characterization was very good as they tried to relate to the plot in their own ways, but on the other hands this was about a movie that has girls running around in their underwear as some sort of criticism of modern entertainment. Un-Go may technically not be episodic because of how some of its episodes flow into each other, but it has the same air, in which it tries to flesh its setting and themes out through vastly different cases, and individual episodes that could very well be all perfectly fine standalone stories.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

12 Responses

  1. DJrunn3r says:

    I agree. This was a fantastic episode to an already fantastic series.

  2. kurini says:

    I hate it when I don’t get what is really happened!I thought they will explain it at the end, but no, they will let us know in the next episode… but well, I do have an idea what happened… but still!

  3. Guest says:

    I’m going to get about zero sleep tonight trying to figure this one out, hopefully I’ll get some sleep before next week.

    The only clue I turned up on a second watch is the clipboard the director’s holding right after he slaps Shinjuro around a bit: it seems to be a map of the prison, and it has indicators for four people (3 “Fs” for the actresses, one “G” which I’m guessing means “Guest”).

    Seems like maybe there is no director? Or the director *is* Shinjuro?

  4. Guest says:

    In case it’s not clear: there ought to be indicators for 5 people, Shinjuro, director, 3 actresses, but the clipboard only has 4.

  5. Perm says:

    oAo On the clipboard, Motoko and Sumie are there but the 3rd actress isn’t…


  6. Guest says:

    G could also be guard too, it is a clue but hard to parse for sure.

  7. mulligan says:

    Really intriguing twist, I’m definitely glad I didn’t give up on Un-Go.

    Slightly off-topic, but this series has the maddest ending tunes I’ve heard gracing on anime (dare I say, ever?).

  8. kero says:

    That just wrinkled my brain.

    He’s obviously stuck in some illusion (the trickling words on screen was a homage to Matrix?)
    but what does it all mean??

    @psgels, you talk about episodic anime, but, this episode draws on what happens in the previous episode, and it’s going to continue on into the next episode.. so I’m not sure it counts as what you’re saying it is, unless episodic also includes 2-3 episode arcs?

  9. DangerMouse says:

    “I’m going to get about zero sleep tonight trying to figure this one out”

    Same here thoughts will be flying around in my head as I try to fall asleep, I know it, lol.

    Agreed, I keep loving this show more each week.

  10. Loz says:

    Trippy episode. Definately one which you had to pay attention to the detail (or lack of it due to the illusion)

    For example at about 8:40 and 13 minutes in, Shinjurou is clearly leaning on something (i assume a wall) yet we can only see the illusion background behind him, and all the way through the episode we get hints of the true reality, like when shinjurou’s eating, is he actually in a dinning hall? not outside, or when he is talking to the actresses (i assume prison inmates) the director (i assume prison guard) keeps telling him to stop slacking off or looking at the women. It always appears that he is behind a wall when talking to them. The only thing that seemed real where the room he slept in.

    And seeing as shinjurou got arrested at the end of the episode, i can only assume he is not being held as an inmate himself, but working at the prison (for whatever reason).

    Oh well whatever. Anyway, I would like it/ wouldnt be surprised if in the next episode we got to see some of the actions that happened in this episode without the illusion.

    Anyway great episode as usual.

  11. Puran says:

    The scene where he falls down, reminded me of Steins;Gate a bit. I mean how the framerate just tripled. It’s a pretty cool way to add some emphasis and creepiness to a scene.

  12. Anno says:

    Clipboard is a pretty big clue I reckon, if you look carefully, under the F’s (felons?) and G (Guard?) are the names. It seems Shinjuro has become an inmate for some reason, and one of the actresses seems to be missing and I’m going to guess it’s the short hair one and the same one who was talking to the director (guard?). There also appears to be a map on the clipboard,probably of the prison. I gather that the actresses meet with Shinjuro during meals at the canteen (the drinks and food/breaks). Everything else is probably an illusion created by the white haired thingo next to the novelist, maybe a special ability to create lies instead of Inga’s ability to unearth the truth.

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  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 02:09 AM)
    @Kaiser Sunny looks interesting but I’ll be honest, when I say Slice-of-Life I actually mean Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 02:07 AM)
    @Kaiser I actually haven’t seen Black Mass.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 12:57 AM)
    These new Batman shorts called ‘Batman of Shanghai’ are pretty awesome:
    Props to Wolf Smoke Studios for the style and execution. I think this borrowed a lot from the Studio 4°C segment of the Batman: Gotham Knight anthology series. I haven’t been this entertained by a Batman cartoon since the original Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 11:09 PM)
    I have to finish the world is mine someday…and read all of Yamamoto Naoki’s works, looks like some good obscure seinen there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:52 PM)
    @Realist: Slice of life fan, you’ll want to go off and read Taiyou matsumoto’s work, Sunny being one of them.
  • Kevin
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:50 PM)
    @ninjarealist Ha u that one nigga that jet lol nice way to sneak back, I missed you. Remember me?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:48 PM)
    @Realist: I imagine you will be seeing black mass?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:47 PM)
    @Realist: Oh by the way I remember ages ago you recommended Meserine to me, not the biggest gangster fan out there and this did suffer from the usual issues of the bipic format but some great action bits in it =) and Vincent Cassel doing what he does best.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:45 PM)
    @Realist: Whatever name you prefer is fine. Though its Kaiser now so we may as well use that.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:28 PM)
    @Kaiser/Emma (do you prefer to go by Kaiser now?) Punpun is the best, but I don’t see it getting adapted any time soon. As someone who personally loves slice-of-life, I love Dead Demons.

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